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100 Policemen Killed in Rio this Year, One Every 57 Hours

"You're gonna die, policeman" says writing on a favela wall in Rio - Photo: EBC

The number of police officers killed so far this year in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro has risen to 100.

Sergeant Fabio José Cavalcante, 39, was shot and killed during an attempted armed robbery in São João do Meriti.

His death brings the homicide rate among both working and off-duty state police officers to one every 57 hours, the highest rate since 2016, when an officer was killed every 53 hours.

Since 1995, the force has lost more than 3,000 officers.

Brazil is currently suffering the worst recession in its history.

The country’s economic crisis has hit government budgets, with Rio harder impacted than most, leaving the poorest areas vulnerable to rising crime.

In July, President Michel Temer launched a crackdown on the city’s heavily armed criminals exactly a year after he opened the Olympic Games there, deploying thousands of extra officers.

Some 843 districts are now said to be under the control of organized gangs.

But the police have also been criticized for deaths during their raids.

Bystanders have been caught up in shoot-outs between officers and the gangs.

In one recent incident, a bullet hit a pregnant mother, injuring her unborn baby.

In another clash, a doorman was killed by a grenade near Copacabana.

Local residents say the force needs more training to avoid similar incidents in the future.

While rights groups have reiterated their concerns about the number of deaths in the favelas.

The latest report by Amnesty International in May reported that police killings in Rio’s shanty towns nearly doubled to 182 in the first two months of 2017—a 78 percent increase from a year earlier.

teleSUR

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